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Blackjack History

The original game that blackjack evolved from was known as vingt-et-un and was played in France in the 1700’s. The game was not popular when it first came to the U.S. after the French Revolution, so local casinos started offering bonus payouts for certain hands in an attempt to draw more players to the game. One bet that paid 10:1 was getting dealt a natural 21 with the ace of spades and a black jack. Thus the new name for the game we know today.

When the game first came to the States there were no laws prohibiting it. Professional gamers discovered the advantages the game can offer and an optimum playing strategy for the game was soon developed. As the game’s popularity grew, the U.S. government outlawed it until Nevada legalized it in the early 30’s, in the new resort town of Las Vegas.The first study of the game was done by Roger Baldwin in 1953 in an attempt to lessen the house edge through optimum play. In 1956 he published “Optimum Strategy in Blackjack” giving anyone an opportunity to lower the house edge to the minimal amount.

The game grew in popularity when the story of the MIT Blackjack Team hit the presses. This group of mathematicians made millions of dollars in the 80’s and 90’s counting cards in American casinos.

Today the game is played internationally in land-based and online casinos. It continues to gain popularity and should be around for a long time.


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